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We are a society of boxes, boxes of all shapes and sizes. The boxes range from long, slim rectangles, big square cubes, even funny shaped octagons, hexagons, and tubes. Each container represents something; be it a way of thinking, a mood or behavior, an addiction, judgments, jails, hospitals, schools, some religions, treatment centers, anonymous rooms, shelters, and even our own minds. Each box shares a name with every other box and that name is “INSTITUTION”. Webster defines “institutionalize” as a way to accustom (a person) so firmly to the care and supervised routine of an institution as to make incapable of managing a life outside. Society has a way of shoving people into tight boxes to make them either fit the “norm” or to get them out of eyesight. What is “normal” anyway? Food for thought.

institute21 Corinthians 2:9-10 (NIV) – However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” – the things God has prepared for those who love Him – 10 these are the things God has revealed to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

Being homeless wasn’t easy OR fun, nor was being institutionalized in various treatment centers, religions, shelters, jails, and the like. I was definitely incapable of managing life. I was always told I had a disease and I was told by some people that I would never get well. I was also told that I wasn’t worth it. Here is an example of being institutionalized: I know people who go back to jail time and time again because it’s comfortable for them. They find ways to mess up (sometimes subconsciously) because in jail there is nothing to worry about; no bills to pay, no mouths to feed, no real worries at all. They are fed everyday like clockwork and have a bed to sleep in. They don’t learn how to work for themselves nor do they feel worthy of anything great. They can’t see the forest for the trees. It was the same for me in treatment centers. I wasn’t there for the right reasons. People in jail and treatment either get it or they don’t. The worst type of institution for me was behind my eyeballs in my own mind. It’s a terrible and terrifying feeling being stuck in the “I Can’t(s)”. Here is the good news…GOD CAN, He will, and He does! We do not have to live in a box designed to keep us sick!

institute8Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV) – I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me up out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him.

God is trustworthy. He is faithful. He is true. And He wants to give me the desires of my heart. All I have to do is put it all in His hands!!

1 Peter 5:6-11 – Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, he will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

institute3God called me out of my sin and into his glory in Christ and He blessed me. What a good Daddy! He didn’t send His Son to die on the cross for nothing. He sent Him so that I could be set free, so that I could step out of the uncomfortable box and show others the way to their own rights and privileges as a blood bought child of a King. What box do you find yourself in? To what institution do you belong? What mediocre container are you trying to break free from?

John 8:36 (NIV) – So if the Son liberates you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free.

God speaks. God moves. Nothing in heaven or on earth can stop His plan for my life! I must be willing to listen, and do whatever is required and I will drink from a fountain that will never run dry!!! I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of conforming. I want to be free to worship, free to love, free to live outside of a stinking box of my own making or one that society is trying to shove me in. I am ready for the Holy Spirit to pour out and overflow my container and quite frankly I don’t really care what that looks like to the world.

Galatians 5:1 (NIV) – It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

No more chains, no more oppression, no more bondage, no more boxes, no more institutions. True freedom never looked so good!

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